On Jan. 3, California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) appointed Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena) chair of the legislative body’s Appropriations Committee.
Holden, a member of the California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC), is the first African-American in 27 years to hold the position.
From 1971 to 1974, former Assembly Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown chaired the Ways and Means Committee, which reviewed and oversaw state government revenue and expenditure.
In 1995, Ways and Means was split into the Appropriations Committee, which reviews the financial impact of all legislation, and the Budget Committee, which drafts proposals for government spending.
“After serving nearly 24 years on the Pasadena City Council, and nine years in the California State Assembly, I have learned the important balance of maintaining fiscal responsibility and advancing effective public policy,” Holden said.
Holden took over as chair of the Appropriations Committee after former chair, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), announced Jan. 3 she is resigning from the Assembly to become the executive secretary-treasurer of the California Labor Federation (CLF). Her last day in office was Jan. 5.
CLF, the country’s largest federation of labor unions, consists of more than 1,200 unions representing 2.1 million workers in areas like manufacturing, retail, construction, and health care.
Holden kicked off the new legislative session, which began last Monday, with a bang. He introduced AB 1604, a bill that proposes several measures included in AB 105, legislation that Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed last October.
Holden said AB 1604 will also equip the state’s Reparations Task Force with “more accurate data to utilize in its deliberations.”
“This legislation will be reintroduced and is the first of its kind in the nation – to promote upward mobility for people of color in California’s civil services system and require diversity on state boards and commissions,” reads a statement Holden’s office released Jan. 4.
The bill calls for the California Department of Human Resources to foster a more diverse and inclusive public sector in the state by setting “upward mobility” goals for African-Americans and other minorities.
“California has led the nation on other social justice and equity issues and now is another chance to continue that legacy,” said Holden.